Genetically Modified Food Research Paper

The Truth about Genetically Modified Food
“All flesh is grass” – quote from Bible. Even at that time people were aware that foods we eat affect our own bodies. The foods they ate were designed by nature, but today many foods are genetically engineered to increase the nutritional benefit. This alteration affects plants, earth and us of course. Whether this influence is positive or negative is not known yet. According to the recent survey, most Americans believe that this influence is positive.

Genetically modified food (GM food) is consumed by most people in the world today, although these people may not be aware of this. Kraft Foods company uses GM food in hundreds of products such as Post cereals and Boca burgers. There is no telling that consequences of using these products with genetically modified food resulted in health decline.

The world’s population is growing very quickly and there is a need to produce inexpensive, but safe and nutritious food. Genetically modified food is the solution to this problem. These crops are potentially better for the environment: they are resistant to pests and diseases and no large amounts of chemicals need to be used to surrounding environment.

It is an interesting fact that in 2003 about 160 million (!!!) acres were planted by transgenic crops (7 million farmers in 18 countries). Arguments pro and cons GM food are not decreasing while this new technology is already in action in the world. Among plants grown are sweet potato which is resistant to a virus which is decimating African harvest, rice with increased amount of iron and vitamins in it – to lessen malnutrition in Asia. It is clearly seen that GM plants are created to make life of other people healthier.

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About 44% of Americans who participated in the survey in 2001 had heard something about GM food. In 2004 this number is only 34%. The other 66% do not know a lot about GM food. Another surprising finding is that more than a half of citizens are confident that they have never tried GM food while it is estimated that already 75% of food in grocery contains genetically modified ingredients.

Genetic modification may provide better quality food and higher nutritional yields. This food is inexpensive and is very nutritious: carrot with more antioxidants, for example. It is very important for developing and undeveloped countries to have access to such food. The amount of food is insufficient in these countries and people are dying because of lack of basic nutrition: GM is the solution to this situation.

Many argue that GM food is not safe to eat and can have impact on human health like allergens and transfer of antibiotic resistance. However, the usual natural food also can have the same effect on humans.

Another opinion is that few companies will dominate world food production and developing countries will be increasingly dependent on them. It can be the case, but GM food is not expensive and can provide these developing countries with better food. Monopoly can appear in any field of the market, it does not matter whether it is GM food or automobiles.

GM food has greater shelf life (tomatoes taste better and can last much longer). Such vegetables can be transported to any part of the world without losing their quality. Moreover, GM food has medicinal benefits such as edible vaccines (bananas with bacterial and rotavirus antigens). Especially in African countries the death rate is very high because of lack of medicines and proper treatment. GM food with vaccines will reduce the risk of getting a disease.

In 2003 United States grew 63% of the global transgenic crops. A majority says that it would try to avoid eating GM food, but it is weak resistance: they also say that they would actually buy such food it was cheaper, had better taste and less pesticides were used in production.

Technologies for GM food offer a huge promise for meeting areas of greatest challenges for the 21st century. Of course it also poses some risks, known and unknown. Controversies around Gm focus mostly on human and environmental safety and food security, poverty reduction. Low awareness about the GM food in general, improper presentation of the issue in Media, result in low understanding of all benefits GM food will bring in future.

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